Published On: Wed, Oct 19th, 2011

What Happens in Vegas…

(The Republican Debate)

Tuesday night, seven Republican Presidential Candidates showed up to duke it out over who would be the best candidate to send Barack Hussein Obama back home to Chicago. It was Rick Santorum, Ron Paul, Herman Cain, Mitt Romney, Rick Perry, Newt Gingrich, and Michele Bachmann on the stage from left to right. Another candidate, Jon Huntsman refused to attend to demonstrate his support for New Hampshire’s right to be the first primary in the nation without interference from the state of Nevada’s caucuses. Considering Huntsman’s standing in the polls, his boycott of the debate probably didn’t hurt him any.

The debate opened up with a question about taxes and the Herman Cain 9 9 9 plan. It is obvious that Cain is going to have a hard time selling this plan, especially the national sales tax part of it.  The best argument that Cain has for his plan is that the current byzantine tax code is impossible for any human being to grasp. The current tax code is 72,536 pages long. The fact that Herman Cain wants to scrap the entire code makes for a popular argument, but the plan that Cain has chosen to replace it will be a much harder sell. Herman Cain does deserve credit for proposing a bold idea and the discussion of taxes in the debate was one of the most informative.

The tax discussion then segued into the health care debate with Rick Santorum calling out Mitt Romney on RomneyCare and it’s connection to ObamaCare. Romney insists that there is a difference between the two plans but that argument is becoming threadbare as more facts come out about the philosophical underpinnings of ObamaCare. The fact remains that all the candidates on the stage agree that ObamaCare must be repealed. It appears that there is some agreement with that view in the Obama administration. On Friday, October 14th, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced the cancellation of the CLASS Act (an element of the ObamaCare plan), because it is unworkable.

The debate than turned to the matter of illegal immigration. Rick Perry quickly took a shot at Romney for allegedly having illegal immigrants mowing his lawn. That charge seems strange since everyone who uses a professional gardener or house painter or roofer is certain to have some illegal immigrants on the payroll. The debate turned to the subject of a solid wall or a virtual wall along the southern border of the United States. There was some disagreement about methods, but all agreed that the border must be enforced.

A question from the audience then brought up the subject of nuclear waste and Yucca Mountain. Ron Paul opposed the imposition of a nuclear waste site on Nevada. Mitt Romney and Rick Perry quickly agreed with Ron Paul that it was a states rights issue.

The issues then began to come fast and furious. TARP and who supported it and who did not, mortgage foreclosures, the Occupy Wall Street protests. After a break, Anderson Cooper came up with a question about the comment made by a Perry supporter that the Mormon religion is a cult. Rick Perry took pains to say that he did not agree with Rev Jeffress. Mitt Romney made a powerful defense of the Constitution and the principle that there should be no religious test for people seeking office in the United States.

There were no clear winners or losers at the end of the debate. No one committed any obvious gaffes or embarrassed themselves. Herman Cain was on the defensive for most of the debate. Rick Santorum seemed to be focused on Mitt Romney. Rick Perry’s attack on Romney over immigration actually seemed a bit petty and a bit desperate. Ron Paul, as always, was himself and unapologetic about it. Michele Bachmann seems earnest, but she doesn’t really seem to be running for president. Newt Gingrich continues to dazzle with his knowledge of policy and politics. And Mitt Romney continues to be disciplined and eloquent in stating his positions.

It was a decent debate and it provided an opportunity for people to see the candidates think on their feet and provide answers to questions on the issues of the day. Each and everyone of them deserves respect for their willingness to enter the arena and suffer the “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.” There is a good chance that one of these people will be the next President of the United States. That chance is enhanced by the fact that the current occupant of the White House has convinced himself that all his decisions have been flawless. He actually told Jake Tapper of ABC News that “all the choices we’ve made have been the right ones.” Most of the American people will beg to differ.

About the Author

- Paul Bianco, retired from a career in sales, now spends his spare time as a gadfly on the many political blogs. Paul says he is just going through a phase, but that phase seems to have lasted two decades. Paul's conservative political philosophy was formed well before conservative talk radio and Fox News came along. Paul remembers the days when conservatives like William F Buckley Jr were voices in the wilderness "standing athwart history, yelling stop!" From time to time Paul contributes some of the insights he has gained from observing politics for so many years, and hopes that readers will be entertained and perhaps even enlightened.